Escalating the war of nerves, Russia’s Gazprom “points” to indefinite interruption of supply citing a new problem with Nord Stream 1 just hours before it was scheduled to reopen in the early hours of Saturday after three days of maintenance work – which had been just as “surprisingly” announced.
It does not contain any relevant announcement from the Russian energy giant no timetable regarding the reopening of the pipeline.
The reason for the interruption of the supply is shown engine oil leak in main turbine gas at the Portovaya compressor station, near St. Petersburg. Gazprom says the pipeline cannot operate safely until the leak is repaired.
In the first reaction on behalf of the Commission, the representative Eric Mamer speaks of Moscow’s “confirmation of unreliability” and “fraudulent pretenses” to keep the duct closed.
“Gazprom’s announcement this afternoon that it is once again shutting down Nord Stream 1 under fraudulent pretenses is another confirmation of its unreliability as a supplier,” notes Eric Mamer, adding that “it is also evidence of Russia’s cynicism, as it prefers to burning the gas instead of keeping the contracts”.
A reaction came from him as well White Housewith a spokesman for the National Security Council stating that “unfortunately, it is no surprise that Russia continues to use the energy as a tool at the expense of European consumers”.
At the same time, Siemens Energy states in its announcement that the oil leakage is not a reason to stop operation of Nord Stream 1.
“Such leaks do not normally affect the operation of a turbine and can be sealed on site. It is a routine procedure in the context of maintenance work” the company underlines.
Similar leaks in the past have not led to an outage, Siemens Energy says, noting that it is currently not assigned maintenance work, but is on standby.
“Regardless, we have already pointed out many times that there are many other turbines available at the Portovaya compressor station to operate Nord Stream 1,” the announcement concludes.
The Nord Stream 1 pipeline was already operating at 20% of its capacity, with the Kremlin maintaining uncertainty about a total supply cut, and consistently accusing the West of being solely to blame for the supply cuts due to the imposition of sanctions – fending off the coordinated ‘fire’ of the ’27’ for “energy blackmail”.
At Germanythe relevant regulatory authority of the natural gas network announced that the country is now better prepared for cutting off supplies from Russia, but urged citizens and companies to limit consumption.
“It’s good that Germany is better prepared, though now it’s up to each and all of us“, was the clear statement of the chairman of the regulatory authority (Bundesnetzagentur) Klaus Muller, after Gazprom announced that the Nord Stream 1 tap is being kept closed.
“That’s it part of psychological warfare of Russia against us”, noted at the same time the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the German Parliament, Michael Roth.
The storage tanks of natural gas in Germany is 85% full. Berlin estimates that its target of 95% capacity by November 1 will be difficult to achieve unless companies and households reduce consumption. At EU level, the EU has already exceeded the target of filling the reservoirs by 80% by 1 October.
A European ceiling on natural gas is “coming”.
The President of the European Commission, Ursula fon der Laien, made clear on Friday that the time has come for the European Union to consider imposing a price cap on Russian gas markets.
“I firmly believe that the time has come to impose a cap on Russian natural gas imported through pipelines to Europe,” said Ursula von de Leyen, who is about to present on September 14 the Commission’s overall action plan to deal with the consequences of the energy crisis.
The high prices of natural gas and the consequent “explosion» of its prices electric current now make the need for EU action and changes in Europe’s energy market imperative. All relevant steps will be discussed at the emergency meeting of EU energy ministers on 9 September.
Agreement in the G7 for a ceiling on Russian oil
At the same time, the finance ministers of the most powerful Western economies reached an agreement on Friday to impose a ceiling on Russian oil, with an eye on global inflation and seeking to deprive Russia of revenue to finance the war in Ukraine.
The Kremlin, for its part, threatens to stop exports to countries that impose ceilings.
G7 finance ministers plan to apply “urgently” a ceiling on the price of Russian oil and oil products, and are encouraging a “broad coalition” of countries to participate in it, they confirmed in a joint statement issued after their meeting today, Friday.
“The price ceiling will be set at a level based on a range of technical data and decided by the whole coalition before it is implemented,” the statement said, with G7 finance ministers assuring that future prices ” will be publicly announced in a clear and transparent manner”.
“Our aim is to align the implementation with the timetable of the relevant measures within it sixth package of sanctions of the European Union”, point out the members of the G7 – namely the USA, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Britain.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellensaid a price ceiling on Russian oil would help the fight inflationwhile at the same time it will hurt Moscow’s ability to finance the war in Ukraine.
The cap helps achieve “our dual goals, putting pressure on global energy prices while depriving Putin of revenue to finance his brutal war in Ukraine,” Janet Yellen said in a statement.
The Japanese Finance Minister, Sunichi Suzuki, welcomed the G& finance ministers’ agreement to set a price ceiling on Russian oil exports and called for the speedy implementation of this decision. He told reporters that the cap would help moderate rising energy prices and inflation.
The representative of the Kremlin Dmitry Peskov threatened that Russia will not export oil to countries that impose a ceiling on its oil, stressing that the relevant move will lead to a significant destabilization of the global oil market.
“Companies that impose a price ceiling will not be among the recipients of Russian oil,” Peskov noted, echoing comments made yesterday Thursday by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.
THE European Union imposed earlier this year partial ban on Russian oil markets; something which Brussels says will cut off 90% of Russian exports to the European bloc when fully implemented.